ERIC Number: ED248978
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jun-28
Reference Count: 0
The Development of Music Syntax: Some Observations of Music Babble in Young Children.
Holahan, John M.
Using the analogy of language syntax, this paper describes the development of music syntax in children ages 5 months to 5 years. It is suggested that music syntax enables the child to comprehend familiar and unfamiliar music and to reproduce familiar music and create novel music. Observations were made in a day care center and a nursery school of 150 children who were provided with informal music activities. Children of different ages performed activities such as rhythmic movement, chanting, and singing. Data were interpreted as suggesting three stages of music babble: (1) At the first level, the child performs discrete music elements concurrently "in time" with a musical stimulus. (2) At the second level, the child performs combinations of discrete music elements arranged synchronically "in time", but those discrete elements do not give rise to tonal or rhythmic organization. The emergence of spontaneous performance apart from a musical stimulus is interpreted as an objective indication that the child is capable of representing musical sounds mentally (audiation). (3) At the third level, the child's performances become more coherent and resemble, but are not identical to, familiar songs. It is concluded that children can learn a great deal through informal exposure to music and that this exposure should begin before kindergarten. (Author/CB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audiation; Music Syntax
Note: Paper presented at the Music in Early Childhood Conference (Provo, UT, June 28-30, 1984).